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Home :: Archive :: 2002 :: September ::
Re: "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 13.1876  Wednesday, 11 September 2002

[1]     From:   Alberto Cacicedo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:06:54 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

[2]     From:   Richard Burt <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:12:58 -0400
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

[3]     From:   Annalisa Castaldo <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:27:53 -0400 (EDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

[4]     From:   Victor Reed <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 16:22:05 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

[5]     From:   Walter Cannon <
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        Date:   Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 22:12:43 -0500
        Subj:   RE: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Alberto Cacicedo <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:06:54 -0400
Subject: 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

I've been running web-enhanced discussions for courses, both with my own
and with Blackboard's protocols, for about seven years. So far, this is
what I've discovered about using the discussion board in Blackboard:

1)  Don't depend on the students to come up with ideas for discussions
on their own.  Begin the discussion with something provocative and then
intervene from time to time with further provocation.  I make an effort
not to be the "authority" on those discussions, except when someone asks
a direct question.

2)  Make the discussions count for something in the final grade for the
course.  It doesn't have to be a terribly large component of the final
grade, but students like the idea that what they think and say "counts."

3)  Sometimes I use the group function on Blackboard, and make a group
responsible for keeping the discussion going in regard to a particular
play or issue.  The danger with this approach is that other students may
think that they are off the hook (to stop which, see # 2).

4)  The Blackboard site allows you easy email communication with
everyone in the class, without your having to type in the addresses of
all the students one at a time.  Make sure that the students have
amended their profiles so that the email they really use is what shows
up on the Blackboard site.  If your school is like mine, the site
administrator simply plugs in the .edu eddress, which often students do
not use at all.

Have fun.  It's refreshing sometimes to see the students going at it on
their own!

Alberto Cacicedo
Albright College

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Richard Burt <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:12:58 -0400
Subject: 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

>Edna Z. Boris writes;

>Some aspects of the Blackboard enhancement are easy: posting course
>documents and links to internet addresses.
>
>What I would like guidance on is how best to use the discussion board
>feature.  Does anyone have any experience with that?  What kinds of
>rules facilitate discussion?  What kinds of questions work well in such
>a medium?

I have not tried this medium, but I understand it is very time consuming
and often very difficult to facilitate.  Most people I know have gone to
asynchronous postings (like SHAKSPER) rather than synchronous
discussions.  Grading can then be done on the number of posts (you can
assign a number) and their quality (even the length of a post might be
part of the assignment) and the number per day or week or whatever time
frame you have.  The more explicit the assignment, the more successful
it will probably be.

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Annalisa Castaldo <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 11:27:53 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

I've used Blackboard for several years. I find the discussion aspect
really depends on the students' willingness to use it. Usually I begin
by posting what I hope are thought provoking questions on the first play
and asking students to respond. As the semester progresses, the students
start to post questions to and answer each other. But if I don't start
things off, nothing ever happens.

I always use fairly open ended questions because I certainly don't want
the discussion board to turn into a kind of on line quiz. So instead of
asking "Why does Oberon want to torture Titania?" I'd ask "Is tricking
Titania into falling in love with something horrible a way to get the
changeling boy? Why would Oberon want to do this? How does this relate
to the behavior of the other lovers?"

Annalisa Castaldo

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Victor Reed <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 16:22:05 +0000
Subject: 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
Comment:        Re: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

I have had some experience with using the Blackboard program as a member
of a mathematics class.  I cannot say that the program worked well for
most members of the class, but I liked it -- with reservations.  The
Discussion Board feature was one of the best and easiest parts of the
system.  Students and instructors got to post their comments one after
another, and eventually the whole thing worked as a kind of thoughtful
chatroom.  The chatroom feature itself, however, was an absolute bomb.
Almost no one managed to meet someone on his own level at any given
time.  I will be fascinated to see how it works out in a Shakespeare
course.

Victor Reed--<
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[5]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Walter Cannon <
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Date:           Tuesday, 10 Sep 2002 22:12:43 -0500
Subject: 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course
Comment:        RE: SHK 13.1867 "Blackboard"- Enhanced Course

I've used the Blackboard platform for teaching Shakespeare but mostly
because it allowed me to voice stream audio recordings of the plays to
the students' computer sound systems.  This seemed less cumbersome than
having them use cassette tapes or even CDs.

I am afraid that this new technology (which seems designed for "distance
learning") does in fact increase the distance between me and my
students. Perhaps I'm just ham-handed in my use of it, but it hasn't
really made my classroom more lively.  I'll keep at it a little while
longer though.

Good luck Edna.

Walter Cannon

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